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Hello, it's certainly been a while- that's for sure! For a long time, I've been becoming disenchanted with the all too common loop! I'm fed up with them. So I've been exploring "point-to-point operations." One of my favorite layouts, the Crooked Mountain Lines, is one of these said "Point-to-Point" Layouts, and the Gorre & Daphited is another example, along with the Westchester Northern (thank you RMC and Kalmbach!). Does anybody here have any experience with "Point-to-Point" pikes, over the ambiguous loops (even if the loop part is hidden)? The only loops I want to have on my layouts, are the ones behind the roundhouse, to turn full trains around.
 

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...For a long time, I've been becoming disenchanted with the all too common loop! I'm fed up with them... the ambiguous loops...
well then.

It's always good to explore the why for personal growth and expression. I'm not sure throwing the baby out with the bath water plays to our advantage though. One is not greater than the other. I rather like my continuous point and HOG interchange. :)
 

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I don't like Christmas Tree running and the point to point is too confining if you run decent sized trains unless you have huge amounts space. I don't care to move your train to the next town and the rest of the train is in two towns back. I have seen many point to point layouts and long you model a small area (Prototype small not layout small) or break it up with petitions they are fantastic. My layout room is roughly 13x55 feet and some of these point to point layouts are a lot bigger than my layout room. I also like the feeling of the train is going somewhere and that it takes time to get there. A late friend of mine developed a system on his layout and some other people wrote articles in some of the model railroad magazines that combine both systems. The layout is a loop but run as a point to point which is called a lap system. For example on his layout you come staging and make 2 laps to the first town, then another 2 laps to the next town until you go through to each locations on the layout and back to staging. It's not for everyone but it does work well.
 

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Your layout doesn't necessarily have to be one or the other. While I agree tha a layout without something to do gets boring fast, that doesn't mean that there is no use for a loop.

Mine is a very large loop, folded twice into a large C, with staging / yard track behind the long leg of the C. Trains can run in a loop (Old Saybrook to Middletown and back), or depart to staging from either end of the loop. Some industries (logging / sawmill, lumber yard, furniture factory) take carloads from other places on the layout, but most loads go to / from staging in a point to point method. Operations are not prototypical, as you draw a card to see what your cargo is and what locos are available. Meanwhile, a short passenger train runs continuously from on the Old Saybrook to Middletown route. Since it has priority, all freights must get their work done and clear the main for the passenger train. Great fun... and if the fit takes you, you can just line the switches and run trains in a circle.
 

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Build your layout to be whatever you want it to be. It can be a total prototype RR, a total fictitious RR, or a combination of the two. What type of operations are you interested in doing with your layout? Let that be your guide. Having a layout do what you want your RR operations is what this all about anyway. Have fun...
 

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Your layout doesn't necessarily have to be one or the other. Operations are not prototypical, as you draw a card to see what your cargo is and what locos are available. Meanwhile, a short passenger train runs continuously from on the Old Saybrook to Middletown route. Since it has priority, all freights must get their work done and clear the main for the passenger train. Great fun... and if the fit takes you, you can just line the switches and run trains in a circle.
Yes, using a card system can make operating your layout more fun, be it
a closed loop or point to point. I do the same on my DCC
room size layout. I Run my passenger as a foil
for the switchers who must clear the route for the Passenger as they break
or build a freight as per the car cards dealt. Adding manifests can assign
loads and points to be spotted.

Don
 

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I know absolutely nothing about real train operations, or card systems or anything else. I just think it's cool to have a model train running and going up and down grades and into and out of tunnels and around buildings and across various terrain. I guess my style is running trains. I certainly don't have room for point-to-point (4x8 board), as if I knew how to run that anyway. Mine is going to be several loops with reversing tracks so I can run both ways. I'm building VERY slowly, so am enjoying that part of it too.

Yeah, I like what I'm doing.
 

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I know absolutely nothing about real train operations, or card systems or anything else. I just think it's cool to have a model train running and going up and down grades and into and out of tunnels and around buildings and across various terrain. I guess my style is running trains. I certainly don't have room for point-to-point (4x8 board), as if I knew how to run that anyway. Mine is going to be several loops with reversing tracks so I can run both ways. I'm building VERY slowly, so am enjoying that part of it too.

Yeah, I like what I'm doing.
Basicallly, point to point is just what it sounds like: during a given operating session, a train with its manifest will arrive on the layout and either deliver its cargo or pick up empties (sometimes both), then depart. Some people do this very authentically, with timetables and waybills for each car, and a dispatcher to keep everything running smoothly. I've tried this a few times, and it just seems too much like work to me. In my simplified world, you draw a card from a deck which says something like "deliver 4 hoppers of coal to the Laurel power plant", then a second card which says "RS-2 #101". So you punch up #101 on the DCC cab, collect the right cars from staging, and proceed to the power plant. Once there, pull any empties, drop your loaded cars, and return to staging. And avoid the slow-cruising passenger train.

DonR -- nice to see someone else who operates his layout like I do.

And that's the great thing about this hobby: everyone can enjoy it in the way that suits him best!
 

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The upper section of my layout is point to point with turning loops on each end.
The lower loop is the same but can also be operated as a loop.
 

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Basicallly, point to point is just what it sounds like: during a given operating session, a train with its manifest will arrive on the layout and either deliver its cargo or pick up empties (sometimes both), then depart. Some people do this very authentically, with timetables and waybills for each car, and a dispatcher to keep everything running smoothly. I've tried this a few times, and it just seems too much like work to me. In my simplified world, you draw a card from a deck which says something like "deliver 4 hoppers of coal to the Laurel power plant", then a second card which says "RS-2 #101". So you punch up #101 on the DCC cab, collect the right cars from staging, and proceed to the power plant. Once there, pull any empties, drop your loaded cars, and return to staging. And avoid the slow-cruising passenger train
I haven't used the manifests on my DCC layout YET,
At this point I have all my locos and cars with
'cards'. My 'division' has 2 road freight diesels, 2 road passenger diesels,
2 yard switchers, and one Dinky passenger local. My locos therefore are
by default assigned, same with passenger locos. I first use the switchers
to break any existing train, spotting the cars as 'empty' where cards
designate. Send the road locos to the loco service yard then shuffle the
cards and deal out a chosen number of cards. The switchers then build
the train in the order dealt. This can be a very interesting couple of
operating hours. It can be even more fun if a fellow modeler is 'engineer'
for the switchers and you can harrass him with the Passenger train and
Dinky passenger train sometimes running off schedule. :p

I definitely would urge any modeller with a good yard and spur system
on their layout to get into the car card operating session. It works
good if you are a lone or with a friend.

Don
 

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Years ago I was faced with the same question on what type of a layout to build and ended up with a point to point layout which, for me, has worked out very well. Before I started my layout over 25 years ago in HO scale, I had an N scale layout that had over 11 scale miles of main line and also a branch line. Disenchanted with the poor running quality of N scale equipment back then, I switched to HO scale. I am sort of like you and didn't want to have a train running in circles.

A lot of planning was done before construction began and I ended up with a point to point operation, built mainly for switching, with a yard and engine facilities at each end. I also have hidden staging tracks, with three tracks that can also be used for continuous running. I very seldom use it for this except when the grand kids are over of for a visitor. It is mainly used for staging. After a local freight does its switching, and the train goes to either yard, the outbound cars are made into an outbound train and are taken "off stage" into the hidden tracks. The same is done for incoming trains.

One thing that was sacrificed was the length of the main line run because a train only goes through the layout one time, but this leaves more room for towns and industries to switch. It can take over two hours for a local train to complete its switching duties and return to a yard. At my age, that's about the limits of my attention span.

Here's a link to the Logan Valley http://www.modeltrainforum.com/showthread.php?t=24746

Also click on the caboose ride below for a ride around the layout.
 

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I'm not using car cards like a real railroad would; I have each engineer draw a card from a deck, like when you pick a chance card in Monopoly. The card tells him what cargo to pick up and what to do with it.

To expand on Don's point, though, every layout operator who wants to do more than jist watch trains go around should have a yard and / or staging area, even if it's just a few tracks.
 

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CTValley,

The only thing that matters is that your system works for you and you have FUN.

It seems to be easy to understand and make happen.
 

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CTValley,

The only thing that matters is that your system works for you and you have FUN.

It seems to be easy to understand and make happen.
Of course. It wouldn't be a hobby otherwise. Notice that I have never said that these elements are essential, or even necessary. For many people, running trains through scenery is what the hobby is all about. HOWEVER, if you want to do more than this (not better, just more, because even on a switching layout, your trains are running through scenery of some kind), then the presence of a yard or staging opens up a lot of possiblities that aren't available to someone whose entire layout is industry pairs.
 

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I have industries on my layout that ships and receives from other industries on the layout as well as shipments coning in and going to locations off of the layout, using hidden staging to bring these trains on and off scene after passing through either yard on the layout. It works well, but I don't use any waybills or cards for making up trains.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
This has all been very insightful. Thank you all. Working out the design of the layout, while prepping for College, is really a challenge (I'm still deciding between Interurban extension all the length of road, or have it only half way or such- I like Steam, independent diesel makes, and Interurbans.). I'll keep you all posted. :)
 

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Trainguru, nice to here from you again! My experience is mine only as I set up a toy layout. But why not have both, I set up an outer loop, ( ill be conecting it to the inner loop soon) , my inner loop.has lots of sideings for switching. When I want to just watch trains go around I do, and if I want to haul freight, etc, I can. Im in o guage, so your stuff can do more with less real estate. Just an idea. Do what you like as its you layout but you can have both. I do like the idea of a yard so you can run different trains , if only I had the room....
 
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